The Kids’ (Accents) Are Alright
Pygmy goats can develop “accents” as they grow older, according to scientists. The young animals, known as “kids”, are raised in groups or “creches” with goats of a similar age. Researchers found that when young goats mixed in these social groups their calls became more similar. The animals join an elite group of mammals known to adapt a vocal sound in response to the environment that includes humans, bats and whales.
The study co-authors suggested that the social structure of the goats could be the motivator behind the convergence in calls and that the ability to modify a sound rather than making calls limited by genetics could be more widespread than previously thought.